I've outlined the highlights of Maui for those who have just 7 days and want to see everything. Two suggestions: First, spend 2 nights in Hana, a decision you will not regret, and second, take the Trilogy boat trip to Lanai for the day. I've designed this itinerary assuming you'll stay in west Maui for 5 days. If you are staying elsewhere (such as Wailea or Kihei), allow extra driving time.
Day 1: Arriving & Seeing Kapalua Beach
After checking in to your hotel, head for Kapalua Beach. Don't overdo the sun on your first day. After an hour or two at the beach, drive to Lahaina and spend a couple of hours walking the historic old town. Go to the Old Lahaina Luau at sunset to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture.
Day 2: Going Up a 10,000-Foot Volcano & Down Again
You'll likely wake up early on your first day in Hawaii, so take advantage of it and head up to the 10,000-foot dormant volcano, Haleakala. You can hike in the crater, speed down the mountain on a bicycle, or just wander about the national park. You don't have to be at the top for sunrise; in fact, it has gotten so congested at sunrise that you may be too busy fighting the crowds to have an awe-inspiring experience. Instead, I suggest heading up any time during the day. On your way back down, stop and tour upcountry Maui, particularly the communities of Kula, Makawao, and Paia. Plan for a sunset dinner in Paia or Kuau.
Day 3: Driving the Hana Highway
Pack a lunch and spend the entire day driving the scenic Hana Highway. Pull over often and get out to take photos, smell the flowers, and jump in the mountain-stream pools. Wave to everyone, move off the road for those speeding by, and breathe in Hawaii. Plan to spend at least 2 nights in Hana.
Day 4: Spending a Day in Heavenly Hana
You have an entire day in paradise and plenty of things to see. Take an early-morning hike along the black sands of Waianapanapa State Park; then explore the tiny town of Hana. Be sure to see the Hana Cultural Center & Museum, Hasegawa General Store, and Hana Coast Gallery. Get a picnic lunch and drive out to the Kipahulu end of Haleakala National Park at Oheo Gulch. Hike to the waterfalls and swim in the pools. Splurge on dinner in the dining room at the Hotel Hana-Maui. Spend another night in Hana.
Day 5: Enjoying Wine, Food & (Hawaiian) Song
Check to see if the road past Hana is open (roads can be closed due to flooding or debris, call the Maui Police Department at tel. 808/248-8311 for information); if it is, continue driving around the island, past Kaupo and up to the Ulupalakua Ranch and the Tedeschi Vineyards and Winery. Stop at Grandma's Coffee House for a cup of java, and then head down the mountain, with a stop for lunch at Haliimaile General Store. Spend the afternoon at the Maui Ocean Center, in Maalaea, checking out the sharks and other marine life. Have dinner in Lahaina and see the drama/dance/music show Ulalena. If the road past Hana is closed, go back along the Hana Highway the way you came, stopping for lunch at Haliimaile, and then follow the rest of the itinerary from there.
Day 6: Sailing to Lanai
Trilogy offers the best sailing/snorkeling trip in Hawaii, so don't miss it. You'll spend the day (breakfast and lunch included) sailing to Lanai, snorkeling, touring the island, and sailing back to Lahaina. Plus, you still have the afternoon free to shop or take a nap.
Day 7: Relaxing & Shopping
Depending on how much time you have on your final day, you can decide to relax on the beach, get pampered in a spa, or shop for souvenirs. Spagoers have a range of terrific spas to choose from, and shopping aficionados should check out some of my favorite stores. If you have a late flight, you might want to check out Iao Valley.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.